There haven’t been a lot of updates to the site lately. That’s because I’ve been studying for the Microsoft 70-536 exam, covering the .NET Framework Fundamentals, which I successfully passed today. This is the gateway exam – pretty much all of the development series starts with the 70-536. I thought I’d share some of my thoughts on the experience, in the spirit of good advice for other developers.
First, the test is tough. You definitely need to study for it, as it covers a breadth of topics. The main focus is security, but also up there in difficulty were interop and serialization. The test questions were all random, but I swear, I got the toughest serialization questions. Know things like the different security models, the encryption algorithms, P/Invoke basics, and do a decent skim over the culture-specific stuff.
The 70-536 book from Microsoft Press is okay, but it alone will likely not get you to pass the test. You need to do the practice exams, then use the results to go in depth in the areas that you’re deficient in. The practice test questions, like the rest of the book, contain their fair share of errors.
Don’t give up free points on dumb questions. Know the ranges of data types, and know which are floating point. Know your collections – those are all easy points on the test, and it takes a small amount of time to brush up on them.
I noticed that sometimes (though not often as I’d have liked) there were two answers that were exactly the same. That’s due to the differences between C# and VB.NET (and C++, but I doubt many people take the test in C++) – the answers are likely different in the other languages, but you only see the code samples for your preferred language. If you see this, neither answer can be correct, so toss them both out by default.
One of the most popular question formats would be to present four nearly identical small code segments, but to have a single variance at two distinct places in the segment. This is so there are four choices for answers when all possible answer combinations are used. If the question you’re reading does this and you can knock out one variable as being the wrong call or incorrect syntax or whatever, you’re so much better off since you can drop two choices quickly.
Okay, that’s about all the knowledge I can drop without giving away something I shouldn’t. Michael Christensen put up some bookmarks that I found helpful. I would suggest against paying for sample tests if you can help it – the exam fee and book are enough cost as it is. Good luck on passing!